INTERVIEW: Antione Dunn – Vulnerable and Unfraid
These days it seems we are witnessing a new boldness in Black men when it comes to expressing their emotions and being vulnerable. We sat down with the soulful artist Antione Dunn to talk about just what makes him so comfortable with “feeling”.
BLF: It’s been said that your music reflects that “old soul” quality of R&B greats. What do you think that old soul ingredient is?
AD: Groups like The Dramatics, The Stylistics, The Chi-Lites, and The Jackson Five, (my go-to bands) are legendary for their musical heart. When you grow up surrounded by this kind of music in a family, it becomes a part of you, it shapes who you become, it becomes part of your soul. I was very lucky to have parents that not only raised me on soulful music, but raised me to be conscience of my soul, to nurture it responsibly and choose a path that would help me grow into a better person.
BLF: Your first album “Truth of the Matter” gave us relationship songs like “Can’t Forget” and the popular “Miss My Love”, reflecting a kind of vulnerability that we don’t see that often from young male artists. How did you get to a place emotionally where you could let your guard down essentially for the whole world?
AD: Songs are a reflection of the state of mind at the time the song was written, the emotional experience in that particular moment. Every song that I write is directly connected to a raw emotion. When you are writing in that kind of headspace you are vulnerable and the words just flow. I think urban society has discouraged vulnerability and heartfelt emotions in men in general, but it’s not who I am.
BLF: What’s the most difficult heartbreak you have experienced?
AD: Oh my gosh-where do I start? I would have to say that my first heartbreak is the most memorable. I was in love with this girl in middle school that I thought was going to be my love forever (like most tweens). When she ended the relationship I was devastated-I mean I thought my soul was never going to heal. That’s when I began writing music.
BLF: So, you have had your heart broken and you have been in some serious relationships. What have you learned about yourself from your relationships?
AD: That is a big question-what haven’t I learned about myself? (Laughs) I think one of the most valuable things I have learned about myself is that I need another person to make my life complete. We get so caught up in our every day busy lives that revolve around us, and at the end of the day, if there isn’t someone there who supports you, who you can laugh with and cry with and vent to, someone to share your success and failure with, someone you can hold who loves you as much as you love them, then the experience of life isn’t complete.
BLF: Your new single “I Am” is written for your mom Janna Dunn, who passed away from Breast Cancer just over a year ago. I would imagine the emotions of that experience were challenging to write through as an artist. Was writing this song therapeutic for you?
AD: Absolutely. When I was made aware of the little time I had left with my mother, (who was my rock, my energy and my inspiration for following my dreams), it was literally like time stood still. Although the world around me continued to live, my whole world stopped and I just wanted the pain to be eased not only for me, but for my mom and my family. When I could finally digest the experience, I took stock of my life as a whole and all of the events that had transpired up until that point, and “I Am” is the product of that moment.
BLF: You have a benefit concert for breast cancer awareness coming up in August. Can you tell us about it?
AD: My mom supported an organization in Cleveland called the Minority Women With Breast Cancer United, and they supported her through her battle as well. After I completed “I Am” I really felt inspired to use it somehow for breast cancer awareness and so I put together this benefit concert called “Antoine Dunn The Experience Concert” named after my experience with losing my mother.
The concert will be at Cleveland State University’s Waetjen Auditorium on August 23rd at 7:30 pm, and a portion of the ticket proceeds will go to the organization.
BLF: Where can we buy the single “I Am”?
You can buy it on iTunes
BLF: Where can we buy tickets for the event?
AD: You can go to www.IAmAntoineDunn.com where you can also see the only live performance of the song I have right now (I’ve been keeping it on lock down for the event premiere).
BLF: One last question I have to ask for our female readers and Antoine Dunn fans . .Are you currently single?
AD: Yes, but hopefully not for long.
If you want to get connected to Antione, here are his deets below.